Jussie Smollett‘s attorney Tina Glandian offered an explanation as to why the “Empire” star said his alleged attackers were white while also dismissed President Trump’s announcement that the FBI and the Justice Department will review the “outrageous” decision to drop charges in the actor’s case.
Glandian told “Today’s” Savannah Guthrie on Thursday that Smollett did not lie when he told police he believed his alleged attackers were white because they were possibly wearing white makeup to disguise themselves.
Smollett previously told police he was attacked by two men wearing ski masks on Jan. 29 and he could make out they had “pale or white skin” around their eyes. According to police, Smollett hired African-American brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to stage the hate crime but Smollett has maintained this to be false and he was cleared of all charges on Tuesday.
Glandian said on “Today” that when Smollett was told by police his attackers were the Osundairo brothers, whom he knew from the set of “Empire,” he was shocked.
“He did tell police that from what he saw, he thought it was white or pale skin, that’s what he initially said,” Glandian said before adding, “Obviously, you can disguise that. You can put makeup on.”
She then pointed to a 2016 YouTube video of Abel Osundairo wearing white makeup on his face to dress up as the Joker.
Abel Osundairo as the Joker in a YouTube video.
“There’s a video, it took me all of five minutes when I was looking into the brothers, to of one of the brothers in whiteface doing the Joker monologue,” Glandian explained.
When pressed if Smollett will put pressure on police to arrest the Osundairo brothers, Glandian said the actor wants to “move on.”
“I think in light of what he’s been through the last two months, he really, just you know, he’s told me numerous times, ‘I don’t even care what happened, I want to move on,'” Glandian told Guthrie.
Tina Glandian appears on “Today” on Thursday morning to discuss her client, actor Jussie Smollett.
“What that attack was pales in comparison to the attack on him by the mayor, by the CPD, by the press, by the public,” she shared, explaining that the alleged attack did not leave him “so badly” beaten.
“What he’s been through after the fact has really been a much harsher attack than what he endured that night.”
Actor Jussie Smollet appears with his attorney Tina Glandian, left, at a hearing for a judge assignment at Leighton Criminal Court in Chicago, Thursday, March 14, 2019.
(E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)
Glandian also addressed President Trump’s announcement that there will be a federal investigation into Smollett’s charges being dropped.
“FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
Glandian said she and her client are “not at all” concerned over Trump’s tweet because “to my knowledge, nothing improper was done.”
Guthrie also asked Glandian if she was aware of any friends or family members of Smollett having any secret discussions on the actor’s behalf with state attorney Kim Foxx, who recused herself from the case.
“No, the discussions [we had] were strictly with the prosecutors who were actually reviewing the case.”
Glandian also firmly denied that Smollett sent himself threatening, homophobic and racist letters. “He had nothing to do with the letter,” she told Guthrie.
Finally, Glandian discussed her client’s decision to forfeit his $10,000 bond as well as complete volunteering services.
“There were no conditions and obviously there was no plea, there was no agreement in place,” Glandian said of Smollett’s charges being dropped. “[The prosecution wanted Smollett] to forfeit the bond and that’s something we discussed with him and he initially struggled with because he didn’t want the perception to be that he had done anything wrong. But at the end of the day, forfeiting $10,000 versus putting your life on hold for a year is a small price to pay.”